Green Living

5 ways to be more eco-conscious in the home

Go green(er)

Eco-friendly home design has taken a greater priority in recent years, and thankfully, this trend is showing no signs of slowing down. From installing solar panels and glazed windows to planting a thriving kitchen garden, there are many ways we can continue in those (carbon-reduced) footsteps and set the pace for a more sustainable living environment – and even save some dollars while we’re at it.

We’ve rounded up five simple eco-friendly ideas that will let you go greener at home.

There’s a good chance your kitchen and laundry cupboards are overflowing with sprays, scrubs and disinfectants. A new year is not only the perfect time to streamline your cleaning cupboard, it’s also a good time to weigh up the ingredients and consider switching to toxic-free products. Chemical cleaning products may seem effective, but with chlorine and ammonia-based formulas, not only are they bad for the environment, but could pose a safety risk to your family and potentially affect some homewares and finishes, too.

Try trading hazardous cleaning agents for natural-based products. Lemon, white vinegar and baking soda serve as great alternatives to strong bleaches and disinfectants, whilst microfibre cloths are great for wiping down surfaces. If you don’t fancy the DIY route, try sorting out natural cleaning products for your home – there are plenty of great options on the market.

Switching to a clean energy future is as simple as turning off lights in empty rooms, shutting down computers from the source and unplugging unused appliances; all steps that will reduce your energy bills in the process.

Take the eco-friendly approach toward energy one step further and re-evaluate your energy sources at home. For example, natural gas is versatile by nature. It can be used in the kitchen for cooking, outdoors for BBQs and heating, and as a consistent and economic method for heating water (especially when paired with solar energy). Perhaps the greatest benefit of the safe and clean fuel; it emits 50 per cent less carbon dioxide than traditional fuels when you burn it. So whilst you go about everyday life, you can be reassured you’re doing your bit for the environment.

People often assume that energy-efficient bulbs emit fluorescent lighting – similar to the type you see in offices and grocery stores – which is not exactly a style you want featured at home. However, LED technology has improved markedly in the last few years, with many new bulb styles and light options available. So, if you haven’t already made the switch to LED or CFL bulbs, it might be time to do so.

It’s not just a cost-effective change, it’s also an environmentally sustainable one. LED bulbs, in particular, use less energy – they’re around 85 per cent more energy efficient than traditional lightbulbs – and they also last a lot longer than incandescent bulbs, meaning this is one of the easiest, quickest and cheapest ways to start living more eco-consciously at home.

Whether you have a big backyard filled with an extensive range of plants and shrubs, or a small herb garden on your balcony, consider upgrading your green space with the addition of a compost area.

Rather than throwing your food scraps in the bin, collect them for your compost scheme instead. It’s an easy way to reduce you carbon footprint and the compost is great to spread over your garden bed to encourage the growth of your plants.

If your home isn’t really equipped for a composting space or an outdoor garden, bring the greenery inside instead. Introducing indoor plants to your living space will improve the air quality of your home; simultaneously you;re doing your bit for the planet and reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide.

It’s easy to adopt any excuse to redecorate your home (guilty as charged), but before you head out homewares shopping, think about where you’re sourcing new furniture from and the types of materials that have been used to make it, plus the environmental impact that its production had.

Wood, for example, is one of the most common materials used in furniture design, but instead of only guided by aesthetics when you’re looking for a new bookshelf or dining table, look for sustainably harvested or recycled options. If you’re on the hunt for statement pieces, you might want to think about reinventing old furniture or buying second hand goods online. Both are more environmentally conscious ways of introducing new products into the home and ensure you’re thinking big picture about going green, not just making small changes.

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